My mother is an amazing woman. She is my example in many areas ~ to be honest, most areas ~ of life. She told me this past week as we were visiting that once upon a time, she was that mother who was frantic and irritable on Sunday mornings. She certainly had plenty of excuse! The pastor's wife did not have the benefit of Dad's presence on Sunday morning. The pastor's wife with five children had her hands full. The pastor's wife with five children and company coming for dinner did not make for a happy Sunday morning!
Mom said that one day she realized that she was short-changing her family. She made a conscious decision that things would be different. She started spending Saturdays getting ready for Sundays. By the time the children were going to bed on Saturday nights, all the housework had been finished. Any clothes that needed ironing had been ironed and hung in the closets. The table was set for breakfast and she knew exactly what the menu held for that breakfast. As much prep for lunch as could be done was done (to the point that potatoes were peeled and in a pot of cold water, waiting to be placed on the stove). Our Sunday School lessons had been finished and our memory verses recited. Those of us who were still working through the catechism had our questions learned. Bibles, Sunday School books and offering envelopes were waiting by the door. After we had our bedtime routine and all her little rascals were in bed, my (very, very tired) mother sat down in the den and polished the family shoes. Bedtimes were strict on Saturday nights. For one thing, Mom was too tired to stay up! She also did not want us staying up late and then being too tired to pay attention in church the next day.
It can not have been easy. We were far from being model children! But there was a great peace in going to bed on Saturday night and knowing that the home and the family were ready for Sunday. There were shortcuts. Saturday night supper was often pizza; a quick and easy (and happy!) menu with a quick and easy clean-up. We all had our jobs to do to help. Dad did as much as he could to help, even with having two sermons and a Sunday School lesson to put the final touches to. There was often squabbling between the children. Okay, there was out-and-out fighting between at least two children 9 times out of 10!
It was worth it. We learned that Sunday worship is important. It is so important that we work to prepare for it. I learned that a peaceful home on Sunday morning helps prepare the heart for worship. A good night's rest prepares my body for worship. Spending time studying the Scriptures that the teacher and the preacher will be using gets my mind ready to worship. It might even get me excited about worship!
Learning to prepare for Sunday does not happen overnight. It takes time and diligent effort and there will be set-backs along the way. In the process it would be easy to focus on the outward appearance presented to the world. Don't make that mistake. Focus instead on what Sunday is about: a day to worship God, because He alone is worthy of ALL worship and honor and glory and praise.
Have a wonderful weekend!
|First Presbyterian Church Macon, Georgia Photo courtesy of Dr. John Reed|